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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
15-Jul-2014

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Contact: Nanci Bompey
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American Geophysical Union
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This week from AGU: Dust models, Arctic Ocean waves, floods and climate change

From AGU's blogs: Global climate models fail to simulate key dust characteristics

Climate models that simulate the airborne African dust that influences Atlantic Ocean hurricanes are not up to the task of accurately representing the characteristics of that dust, according to a new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters.

From AGU's journals: Surface waves contribute to ice retreat in Beaufort Sea

Surface waves, created by blowing wind, play a role in energy and nutrient transport and also shape coasts through erosion. Because the Arctic Ocean is usually covered by ice year-round, surface waves of the central Arctic Ocean have not been studied extensively.

Thomson and Rogers present the first in situ observations of surface waves from the central Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean. In the last few summers, warm temperatures have caused unprecedented retreat of ice, allowing researchers to investigate surface waves and their dependence on ice cover. The authors looked at data from a mooring during the summer of 2012 and found that as ice broke up, wind was able to blow further distances for longer periods of time, thus generating larger and larger waves. These waves in turn may have contributed to further breakup of Arctic ice.

The authors note that this process could become a feedback mechanism that could lead to more and more retreat of ice in the Beaufort Sea and larger surface waves, and thus influence other processes such as coastal erosion.

Read a blog post by the study's lead author about the new research here.

From this week's Eos: How Does Climate Impact Floods? Closing the Knowledge Gap

Floods are considered serious threats by governmental agencies and municipal planners—annually, an average of 115 million people require immediate assistance or are displaced worldwide by floods. These numbers are expected to rise as climate changes.

To better prepare people for future floods, scientists need to dig deep into the past to capture a wider spectrum of both flood and natural climate variability than what has been available. Such reliable flood time series, covering thousands of years, are being collected in a few select regions.

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